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Scheer calls for stricter inspections, possible tariffs on Chinese imports

Click to play video 'Scheer says Trudeau has ‘done nothing’ on China, calls on Ottawa to ramp up inspections of Chinese imports' Scheer says Trudeau has ‘done nothing’ on China, calls on Ottawa to ramp up inspections of Chinese imports
WATCH ABOVE: Scheer accuses Trudeau of ‘doing nothing’ on China, says Ottawa needs to inspect Chinese imports more – Jul 5, 2019

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step up inspections on all products from China and to consider slapping tariffs on imports from the Asian country.

In a letter Friday, Scheer pressed Trudeau to take a harder line with Canada’s second-biggest trading partner at a time when the countries are locked in a diplomatic dispute that has dragged on for more than seven months.

Since the start of the conflict, China has detained two Canadians on espionage charges and has taken trade-related actions against goods from Canada that carry economic consequences.

 

 

“There is no other way to put this: Canada is being bullied by the Chinese government and you have done nothing to stand up for Canada in response,” Scheer wrote to Trudeau in the letter, which his office released publicly.

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, however, has no intention of increasing inspections on Chinese imports, a spokeswoman for Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said later Friday.

China detained two Canadians in December just days after Canada arrested Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition warrant.

WATCH: Trudeau defends approach to China over detainment of 2 Canadians despite ‘naive’ comment

Click to play video 'Trudeau defends approach to China over detainment of 2 Canadians despite ‘naive’ comment' Trudeau defends approach to China over detainment of 2 Canadians despite ‘naive’ comment
Trudeau defends approach to China over detainment of 2 Canadians despite ‘naive’ comment – Jul 4, 2019

Angered by Meng’s arrest, China has increased inspections that have led to the suspension or obstruction of key Canadian agricultural imports, including pork and canola.

Last week, China announced an additional suspension of all imports of Canadian meat products because of claimed concerns over fraudulent inspection reports.

READ MORE: Scott Moe calls on ‘reciprocal’ action on Chinese imports over canola ban

Canada is collaborating with China in an ongoing investigation, said Katie Hawkins, Bibeau’s spokeswoman.

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Scheer wants Trudeau to respond by intensifying Canadian inspections on all imports from China and to start exploring possible retaliatory levies on Chinese products that will have the greatest possible impact while “minimizing harm” to consumers in Canada.

WATCH: China hits back with tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods

Click to play video 'China hits back with tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods' China hits back with tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods
China hits back with tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods – May 13, 2019

He added that Canada imported more than $75 billion worth of goods from China last year.

“In short, we have leverage in this dispute, but only if we choose to wield it,” Scheer wrote.

READ MORE: China blocks pork imports from 3rd Canadian company amid escalating tensions

Trudeau, who has called the detention of the Canadians arbitrary, has tried to secure their release by encouraging Canada’s allies to tell Beijing it needs to follow the rule of law and other international standards.

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The prime minister and Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, have said President Donald Trump raised the plight of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor with President Xi Jinping during the recent G20 summit.

WATCH: What is ractopamine, the drug banned in China but permitted in Canadian pork?

Click to play video 'What is ractopamine, the drug banned in China but permitted in Canadian pork?' What is ractopamine, the drug banned in China but permitted in Canadian pork?
What is ractopamine, the drug banned in China but permitted in Canadian pork? – Jun 26, 2019

Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave, and Spavor, an entrepreneur, were both arrested on allegations of undermining China’s national security.

Scheer also reiterated his calls for Trudeau to launch a complaint against China with the World Trade Organization and to cut Canadian funding to Beijing’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to which the Liberal government has committed $256 million over five years.